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Electric buses coming to Oakville Transit

Oakville News
Oakville News

Oakville Transit is going electric, thanks to a $66 million joint investment by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Zero-emission battery-electric buses will replace 57 of the town’s diesel buses over the next six years, while 16 additional new electric buses will expand the fleet.

The money will also fund projects to modernize the transit experience for riders, lower operational and maintenance costs, and reduce the fleet’s impact on the environment.

“This is the biggest investment in transit in Oakville’s history,” said Mayor Rob Burton, during an announcement held at the Oakville Transit facility on Wyecroft Road on Wednesday morning.

The funding, made through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, will see the federal government contribute $26.5 million, the provincial government kick in $22.1 million, and the town pay $17.6 million.

Along with purchasing new made-in-Canada electric buses, the money will pay for:

  • Safety and accessibility improvements to 249 bus stops

  • Installation of WiFi on the fleet's 107 conventional and 20 specialized buses

  • A new automated service scheduling system to create more efficient schedules and improve the quality of service

  • A smart phone app that will give riders access to a bus' location as well as its arrival, and departure times. The app will also integrate with the Metrolinx's Triplinx planner

  • For riders using specialized transit services, there will be on-demand scheduling software and a real-time trip management mobile app

Federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna joined a slew of local politicians from all levels of government for the announcement.

The ability of local politicians from all parties to cooperate and collaborate benefits the community, said Oakville MP Anita Anand.

“Today’s particular project will make public transit in Oakville greener, more accessible and more convenient than ever for our riders,” she said.

Burton said the “electric dream” for Oakville Transit has been a longtime goal for Oakville council.

Oakville transit goes electric |  Mayor Rob Burton at Wednesday
Oakville transit goes electric | Mayor Rob Burton at Wednesday's funding announcement

“We had the foresight in 2011 to build this transit facility, which features a heightened roof and crane necessary for servicing electric buses,” he said.

The town applied for funding to electrify Oakville Transit last October. Under the program, the federal government covers 40 per cent of costs, the province picks up one third, and the town is responsible for the remainder.

A report from Oakville Transit director Barry Cole noted that the town’s buses travel more than six million kilometres each year, with diesel fuel the single largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from town operations.

As well as eliminating emissions, electric buses travel more quietly, have reduced maintenance costs and would save the town about $120,000 per bus over a 14-year life span, the report added.